Tag Archives: smoke alarms

Summer Electrical Maintenance

Summer Electrical Maintenance

Summer Electrical Maintenance

With summer in full swing, some homeowners may be noticing higher electrical bills. When the weather gets warmer, air conditioners or fans are used to keep homes cooler. Having a summer electrical maintenance routine will help to beat the heat and keep your electrical costs down.

The following is a checklist of some summer electrical maintenance tasks that every homeowner should know.

Summer Electrical Maintenance Items To Help Save Energy

  • Use your barbecue to avoid using heat generating appliances inside
  • Use a microwave to cook to avoid generating heat and use less wattage
  • Air dry laundry to avoid using the dryer as much as possible
  • Have your AC system checked to ensure it is working efficiently
  • Use ceiling fans on slow speed to keep air circulating and add a slight breeze
  • Have an electrician inspect and tighten all major electrical connections
  • Install programmable thermostats which control temperature more accurately than older technology.
  • Upgrade your lighting to energy efficient LED
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room
  • If possible, unplug appliances, devices and chargers when they are not in use. Even when turned off, some devices will still draw power
  • Change your furnace/air conditioning filter every three months. Dust and dirt on the filter  will slow the airflow and make the unit work harder
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed during the hot days to help keep the heat out

Other Summer Electrical Maintenance

  • Test all smoke/CO alarms monthly. Replace back-up batteries if required
  • Make sure all outdoor outlets are GFCI protected and have weather-proof covers. For more information on GFCI protection, click here
  • Check all power tool cords for damage before use
  • Use extension cords rated for outdoor use and properly sized for the task. Check the cords for frays or plug damage. A damaged cord should never be used

Our electricians would be happy to assist you with all your summer electrical maintenance repairs. Regular maintenance of your electrical system may identify minor concerns before they become expensive repairs.

Modern homes burn faster.

Modern Homes Burn Faster

The infrastructure of a home in Wherry Housing crumbles under a fiery onslaught Aug. 14. No one was inside the house, and none of the responders were injured. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Modern Homes Burn Faster

An alarming statistic has revealed that modern homes burn faster than homes built 30 years ago. An Underwriters Laboratory study indicates that occupants in newer homes have less than three minutes to escape a burning building versus 17 minutes from older homes. This is a significant difference. With this new information, the urgency to evacuate the burning building as quickly as possible cannot be overstated. Homeowners need to understand that a three minute window does not allow time to gather precious belongings, look for the cat, or try to fight the fire themselves.

So what is Causing Homes to Burn Faster?

Studies show that the cause of house fires today, versus 100 years ago, has not changed significantly. Human error involving unattended candles, smoking in bed, poorly stored flammable liquids and faulty electrical are still the main causes. What has changed in recent years is the speed at which the fire and smoke spread throughout the structure.

Three causes have been identified as main contributors to this difference:

  1. Furnishings: The things we fill our homes with, such as upholstered furniture, drapery and carpeting, consist mostly of fast burning synthetic materials. Decades ago, slower burning natural materials and fibers were more common.
  2. Design: The popular open floor plan, commonly found in modern homes, actually contributes to the speed at which a fire spreads. This large open space provides lots of available oxygen to fuel a blaze versus the smaller rooms with doors common to older style homes.
  3. Construction: Today’s homes are typically dimensional wood frame construction versus the heavier lumber and beams used in the distant past. In an effort to construct safer homes, builders are encouraged to exceed fire rating standards and use more fire resistant composite lumber products, multi layered fire rated gypsum board, and steel studs in addition to concrete and brick. Any construction measure that slows the rate of fire spread provides the occupants a better chance of escape and reduces the degree of structural damage.

Armed with this information, homeowners should always be making decisions that increase the fire safety of their homes in each of these areas. The most obvious and cost effective safety measure is the installation of the common household smoke detector. An up-to-date, functioning, hard-wired smoke alarm with battery backup, will provide the homeowner with the most reliable early warning of fire, giving occupants the best chance to get out safely. For more information on smoke alarms, please check out the following link.

Smoke Alarms and CO Alarms Save Lives

Building Codes May Soon Change

In an effort to address the concern that modern homes burn faster, building codes may soon be changing. A task force, commissioned by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, has recently approached the National Building Code of Canada with a recommendation that mandatory sprinkler systems should be included in the Building Code for all new construction as early as 2020. Related industries are now in discussion on how this recommendation would impact the cost of new construction.